Friday, October 27, 2006

Blame Raycroft?

The tide is turning in Toronto.

After allowing only 16 goals in his first seven starts with the Maple Leafs, Andrew Raycroft has allowed 16 more in his next three. Granted, the team in front of him hasn't been strong, but one thing's clear: The guy between the pipes who started out with a 2.23 goals-against average and .923 save percentage to start the year might not be the one the Leafs see all season.

Raycroft didn't play well last Saturday against the New York Rangers, and was directly at fault for at least two of their four goals. On Tuesday at home against Ottawa, he was bombed for six in the first two periods before being yanked, and then allowed seven in the full 60 minutes in Ottawa last night.

The results — a 5.92 GAA and .820 save percentage over the past three games — have to be at least a little worrying for Leafs fans. But the one thing I've yet to hear uttered from the Nation's lips is 'Blame Raycroft' — which is a good thing. Because when it comes, it'll be unrelenting, at least until this team starts winning again, and we've seen what happens to Raycroft when things aren't going his way.

As Bob McCown said on the Fan 590 this afternoon, Raycroft is starting to look an awful lot more like the goaltender who stunk up the Bruins crease last season than the one who won the Calder Trophy in 2003-04.

Backup Jean-Sebastien Aubin gets the start for Toronto tomorrow against Montreal, and if he's able to offer up a decent performance, I wouldn't be surprised to see him start again soon after. It's a little early for a goaltending controversy, but let's be frank: The Leafs have one win in their last five games, and that was against Columbus.

Where's that panic button?

PS It should be noted that Raycroft has faced more shots than any other NHL goaltender this season, which is at least partly to blame for his slide.


At 5:37 p.m., October 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the reason you haven't seen Leafs fans hitting the panic button is that there is no need.

Raycroft made a number of great saves last night and Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Leafs have been embarrassing defensively. Heatley had two tap-ins last night, Fisher's could have been cleared by White, one he was completely screened, Corvo's he might have stopped but the truth is that Raycroft is not the problem.

Also, McCown is a moron who probably hasn't been able to see the games because of his stupid sunglasses. How he has a radio show is beside me. If he had watched the last three games he would realize that Raycroft's numbers may resemble his stats from last year but that is a function of the Leafs playing terribly and not of a weak goaltender.

At 7:04 a.m., October 28, 2006, Anonymous Duff said...

mrhouvOf course there were the 5 shots off the posts you forgot to mention!


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